International Law Symposium to examine renewable energies

March 15, 2012

by Käri Knutson

The opportunities and challenges encountered in the development of renewable energies will be discussed at the Wisconsin International Law Journal 2012 Symposium from 8:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Friday, March 23, at the University of Wisconsin Law School.

Through the keynote address and three panel discussions, the symposium titled "Renewable Energy and Climate Change: Opportunities and Challenges," will examine renewable energy in the United States and in other countries. The keynote address "Climate Change and Renewable Energy: Opportunities and Challenges for International Law" will be delivered by Professor David Freestone, Professorial Lecturer in Law at George Washington University. He was formerly the chief counsel and head of the International Environmental Law Group at the World Bank.

Stephanie Chase, a student in the dual-degree law and public affairs program, and law student Jamie Konopacky have planned the event for nearly a year, including gathering sponsors, raising funds and arranging for panelists to attend.

"Climate change is considered as one of the main challenges to this generation's policymakers and scholars with potential impacts on generations to come," Chase says. "While the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions has been the main focus of international efforts thus far, the development of alternative fuels is another important policy response to climate change."

Panels will focus on renewable energy in the United States and internationally as well as biofuels and food security, human and indigenous rights, intellectual property and land tenure.

"Lawmakers are looking for new ways to accelerate the development of low-carbon and no-carbon fuels," Chase says. "The use of renewable energies and fuels such as wind, solar photovoltaic and biofuels will continue to grow as techniques and technologies are developed. These changes are a welcome and necessary development. However, with the growth of these industries come challenges for individual nations and the international community."

Presenters are invited to submit their papers for publication in the special issue of the Wisconsin International Law Journal. University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty, including Greg Nemet of the La Follette School, will moderate panels.

For more information and registration, click here.

Campus sponsors include the Law School and its Global Legal Studies Center, Institute for Legal Studies, East Asian Legal Studies Center and Environmental Law Society; the Lectures Committee, the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, the Center for German and European Studies, and the European Union Center of Excellence. Other sponsors include Sonnet and Chris Edmonds; Sonnet Schmidt Edmonds Prize in Energy Law, the American Bar Association's Section of Environment, Energy and Resources; Wisconsin State Bar's Energy and Telecommunications Section and its Section on International Law; LexisNexis; Clean Wisconsin; and student groups the Wisconsin International Law Society and Wisconsin Environmental Law Society.